So...what do we have here?

Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-Kun [Action Game]

An oddball from Konami

Japanese Game Box Front

What's up Dracula-Kun?

He He...Tomato Juice...Tomato Juice!

I AM KING! You better believe it!

I Am Dracula-Kun! I'm King And You're Not!

I've seen things like this in elementary school...

The Screen Setup For Bonus Stages

-General Information-
Version: Japanese
Year: 1990
Publisher: Konami
Developer(s) and Others: Konami
# of Players: 1
# of Saves: None (Utilizes the password feature)
Estimated Market Value as of 08/20/2007: $28 - $35 (U.S. Dollars, USD)
Other Info: While the NES game is Japan-Only, the U.S received an Akumajou Special for Game Boy by the name of "Kid Dracula". At this moment, it is unclear if Kid Dracula is in fact "Alucard" (Dracula's son) or if it is just Dracula as a kid or some other person in general. The topic is often debated on.

Konami has "Parodius", a game series that is a parody of the popular "Gradius" series. While Parodius was silly and downright strange, it was still a fun game and the game has many fans today (even in U.S. territories). If Gradius can do it, then Konami figures that the same thing can be done to their popular Castlevania series too! In 1990, Konami released a title known as Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-Kun (Or Demon Castle Special: I am Dracula-Kun) and the game is sort of a parody of Castlevania. You play the role of Dracula-Kun, a self-proclaimed Demon King who awakens from a long slumber (and gets some tomato juice...which he loves) only to witness a television broadcast from a demon called Galamoth. In his broadcast, he sends out a challenge to your hero...which Dracula-Kun obviously won't turn down because he has a title to defend. Angered by Galamoth's challenge, he hurries to grab his father's cape and sets off on his adventure.

AS:BDK's graphics are fairly well done. The enemies are goofy and relatively varied (considering the length of the game). I feel the animation could have been a little better for 1990, but it is still respectable. The game would have been fine as is, but the real thing that pleased me was the variety as far as level design. While the structure of the levels are typical to ordinary platformers and don't do anything special, the game takes your hero to locations that aren't typical to ordinary Akumajou titles. You travel through ice covered areas fighting snowmen and seals that use bombs. You travel on a train fighting hoodlums and street punks in a city subway system. You even fight UFOs and aliens at night in the city! You even have to take a quiz starring the Statue of Liberty! It's interesting to play an Akumajou game that is upbeat rather than dark and brooding, though it should be mentioned that there are a couple of spots in the game that can have significant slowdown. The game is bright and colorful...not to mention that the kid-friendly appeal is uncharacteristic of an Akumajou title.

The music is acceptable. Don't play this game expecting the music to retain the same level of quality of other NES Akumajou games. To have music that would appropriately match the quirky settings of the game, Konami obviously had to make some significant changes to the style and composition. The end result leaves me a little mixed...I feel the quality of the music works considering the wacky theme of the game, but I've heard better. The first stage music is is the music on the sky stage, but it feels as if something is missing from the picture. While the game is interesting because it is an Akumajou game set in unusual areas, the music doesn't really stand out much and it didn't exactly set the mood for me when I played it. This is probably because I am used to the music of the other NES Akumajou games. I hear it and acknowledge that it is playing in the background, but I was expecting better from Konami since they produce many tunes of great quality. The sound effects are average as well and consist of typical bleeps and bloops that you have come to love or hate from many NES games and other games.

This game consists of six stages and you play bonus stages in-between stages. There are four bonus stages known as courses A, B, C, and D and you must pick a ladder to climb down in order to reach the bonus stage you want. The screen setup is similar to Amidar or Amida-Bingo in the game "Bing Bing! Bingo" (by KSS in 1993 for Super Famicom/SNES). When you choose which ladder you want, additional bars will appear that further alter the course of Dracula-Kun as well as the bonus stage you will play. One bonus stage makes you throw knives at a barrel. Another has cancan dancers (learn about the cancan here) on stage and you must guess the color of their panties. Another one has you turn a device that drops balls out. Depending on the color of the ball that falls out, you get different amounts of extra lives. Finally, there is a roulette bonus stage that gives you extra lives depending on where the cursor stops on the roulette wheel.

Dracula-Kun can shoot fireballs and he can also charge up to fire a powerful shot. He initially starts with a typical shot that goes straight forward with no additional effects...but after levels, Dracula-Kun gains a new power. Such powers include a homing shot, a shot that freezes enemies momentarily, the ability to fly by turning into a bat, and a couple other powers. Dracula-Kun can shoot above him and he can shoot downward if he is in the air. You need money for the bonus levels and you can only gain money by defeating enemies with a charged shot. Ordinary shots won't give you coins. You start with three hearts for life, but you can upgrade this to a maximum of five by grabbing heart containers. The game is a bit challenging (despite it looking like a kiddie game) and it is also short. However, as far as action games go, it does well to be action packed and overall, I was entertained with the abilities, bonus stages, and other aspects of the gameplay.

In the end, Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-Kun is a decent game to play, but probably not worth the price it typically goes for. If you can score a complete copy for about 15 or 20 bucks, it might be worth buying, but I wouldn't shell out top dollar for it expecting it to be 24 carat gold.

- Written by Vyse the determined -

Game Screenshots

Title Screen At last! I am awake! Time to cause MAYHEM! Someone just got whacked! If you pause the game, Dracula-Kun will fall asleep. One of these days of these days... I can see why YOU didn't make it stateside.

This review has 17 extra images.

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